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Last Minute Flexible Spending Account Ideas

Posted By Jim On 06/23/2005 @ 12:30 pm In Personal Finance | 9 Comments

Flexible Spending Accounts, or FSAs, are “use it or lose it” and, come June 30th, I’m going to lose what remains on my balance since my benefits plan refreshes every July 1st. I wrote something on FSA’s a little while back, called How Does a Flexible Spending Account Work [3], and now the time has come for me to apply it. We all have a set of expenses we believe are health related, well, the government has added a bunch of expenses you probably didn’t think you can use with an FSA. Additionally, reading this list is probably easier than reading this IRS document
.

Everyone Is Eligible

For the following, everyone is eligible to spend their FSA money on these products.

  1. Over The Counter Medications – This is always the backup plan and probably first on your list. If you’re close to needing a refill on that bottle of aspirin or some Loratadine [4] (the anti-histamine in Claritin, except much cheaper). For more on this, straight from the horse’s mouth, read this IRS briefing [5].
  2. First Aid Kits (and their contents) – These are also eligible for FSA cash, but sometimes the contents individually aren’t. For example, an ice compress or an ACE bandage by itself won’t be eligible, but if they’re in a kit then your plan administrator won’t be the wiser.
  3. Contact Lens Solution – Obviously, only viable for contact lens wearers but saline solutino lasts forever, so stock up now.
  4. Transportation – Did you know you can get money for medical trips? In 2003, you could get 13 cents per mile to and from the doctor’s office.
  5. “Alternative” Medicine – Even though some might disparage them, you can also spend the FSA cash on alternative medicines such as acupuncture, chiropractic treatment, Christian Science practitioners and massage (if it treats something specific, doctor’s note required unfortunately).

Doctor’s Note Required

For the following, you’ll need a doctor’s note or other documentation in order to spend FSA money.

  1. Vitamins – With a documented deficiency in a particular vitamin, vitamins are eligible for FSA reimbursement.
  2. Sunscreen – This isn’t for those who burn easily, but for those who have a doctor who orders them to wear it.

Have any personal favorites or FSA strategies you’d like to share for last minute spenders?


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[2] Email: mailto:?subject=http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/last-minute-fsa-flexible-spending-account-ideas.html

[3] How Does a Flexible Spending Account Work: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/how-does-a-flexible-spending-account-work.html

[4] Loratadine: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a697038.html

[5] IRS briefing: http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=112623,00.html

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